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A shore thing
Using Tybee's North Beach as a canvas, SCAD creates sand art
It's a day at the beach for SCAD students April 30

Students, faculty and employees of the Savannah College of Art and Design will risk sunburns, seagull poop and sandy shoes this weekend - all in the name of art.

Well, it's really just a day at the beach.

The annual Sand Arts Festival takes place Friday, April 30 on Tybee Island's North Beach.

"They spend a day down there creating these really visually stunning works," says foundation studies professor Christopher Nitsche, coordinator of the event. "And it's a great companion to the Sidewalk Arts Festival in Forsyth Park. It's like the sculptural companion to the two-dimensional work done there."

More than 350 participants are expected to compete in three juried categories: sand castles, sand relief and sand sculptures.

Not allowed are colors of any sort - this is strictly by-the-book beach sand art - or any sort of binding agents. The artists are allowed to bring shovels, pails, sculpting tools, things like that, and use anything natural they happen to find on the beach for decoration.

Like last week's Sidewalk Arts Festival, this event attracts SCAD students from every field of study (although, Nitsche admits, architecture students tend to lean towards the sand castle competition).

Another feature is wind sculpture. "That's where students can actually pre-fabricate works," Nitsche explains.

"Sometimes they're actually student projects in a three-dimensional design or sculpture class. They will dismantle this, and it's designed to be set up at the beach and interact with the wind.

"Sometimes they're homemade kites, sometimes they're prefabricated sculptures themselves, but it's a real trip to see the inventiveness of students and how they decide to work this out."

There are sponsors, and prizes, but at the end of the day the whole thing is really about having loads of fun in ye olde sun.

"This is of Savannah," Nitche believes. "And the beach is ubiquitous here. The City of Tybee has been magnificent to work with on this. It creates a really great way for students to get involved above and beyond coursework - to do creative outlets beyond their majors.

"It's more of like a socializing of what they do, which I think is something that SCAD is a real standout school that offers these kinds of opportunities."

SCAD Sand Arts Festival

Where: North Beach, Tybee Island (near the lighthouse on Meddin Drive)

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, April 30

Admission: Free